Drivers convicted of DUI / DWI face numerous consequences, including jail time, fines, suspended licenses, and mandatory alcohol education classes. A few states have taken the repercussions a step further by issuing special license plates to allow police and the public to easily identify convicted drunk drivers.
Attempts by the California legislature to institute special license plates for DUI offenders have been unsuccessful; however, lawmakers have recently revived the plan, and special plates may be mandated in the future. Qualified California DUI / DWI attorneys watch such legislative attempts very closely, and can advise clients facing drunk driving charges of the status.
Special license plate programs have experienced limited success in other states. Oregon and Washington launched a “Zebra Tag” program several years ago that allowed authorities to place a striped sticker over the registration tags of vehicles owned by convicted DUI drivers with suspended licenses. Although studies noted a reduction in violations and accidents among those threatened with zebra tags, the program did not enjoy widespread public support, and both state legislatures allowed the laws to expire.
Three states (Iowa, Minnesota, and Ohio) have issued special license plates to allow relatives of convicted DUI / DWI offenders to avoid having the family vehicle impounded. These special plates designate the vehicle’s restricted status – the convicted DUI driver is not permitted to drive the vehicle.
Again, the California legislature has been unsuccessful in instituting a special license plate program for DUI drivers, but there are continuing efforts to pass the legislation. Anyone facing a drunk driving charge, particularly a repeat offense, can consult with a lawyer experienced in defending drunk driving cases to learn the status of California’s special license plate program.